11 Tips on How to Negotiate Salary Over the Phone and Email in 2023

how to negotiate salary

how to negotiate salary

Properly negotiating a higher salary offer is something everyone can benefit from. Whether your conversation is over the phone, via email, face-to-face, or through Zoom, the following advice can help you nail your next salary negotiation.

Questions Answered (Updated 2023)

  • What can be negotiated in a job offer?
  • How to negotiate salary over the phone (email, zoom, face-to-face)
  • How to write a negotiation email (with samples)
  • How to respond when someone asks about salary expectations

Found Your Dream Job? Check!

Sent In Your Resume? Check!

Interview Went Great? Check!

Now what? It Sounds Like You’re Ready To Negotiate!

Negotiating for higher pay can be challenging and even uncomfortable at times. Whether you’re starting a new role or looking to upgrade a paycheck, asking for an increase is bound to come up in your career.

Fun conversation, right?

Regardless of your feelings toward salary negotiation, worrying about saying the wrong thing or avoiding the conversation altogether isn’t the answer. You certainly can’t get more money if you don’t ask or make your interest known.

MRINetwork says the most popular reason for job offer rejections are: accepting another offer (47%) and the pay is lower than expected (25%).

If these people knew how to negotiate salary more effectively, they might have had a job they liked with the higher pay they wanted/deserved.

How to Negotiate Salary over the Phone

Have you ever declined a friend’s request to go out for drinks? Maybe you’ve turned down a parent asking to meet up for lunch.

Now, is turning them down harder in person or over the phone? …” In-Person” is likely your answer (just like ours)!

Having a manager turn you down for a raise or holding firm on a lower salary via the phone is easier for them, just like turning down a friend for lunch over the phone is easier for you.

Negotiating salary over the phone can often put you at a disadvantage and give your manager the upper hand. It can also create a communication gap that may throw off the flow of a conversation.

Nonetheless, our current work world is more remote than ever – making phone or online video conversations (like Zoom) the new norm – and a necessary skill to master.

So, how do you negotiate salary over the phone if you can’t meet face to face? Here are 11 bits of advice that can help you win your next negotiation.

Note: The following steps can be slightly altered or changed to accommodate any form of salary negotiation.

1. Prepare Yourself

Prepare what you intend to say about why you deserve a raise (i.e., exceeding expectations, completing tasks, growing profits).

Be specific and bring evidence if possible. The person in charge of the decision may not realize you increase profits by 17% in the last quarter, but you can have the records to prove it. Preparation will help build confidence for what might be a tough conversation. 

2. Research The Market

Read up on the market for a better understanding of current salaries within the industry. Online platforms like Glassdoor and Payscale provide job seekers with free company salary information. 

Researching only takes 5 minutes but is crucial when deciding a rate. It also provides essential industry and market data to back up your request. The last thing you want to do is request an increase well outside the bounds of what is expected and appropriate at a particular company.

You will come up with a wide range of pay but make sure to ask for something toward the top of that range. This gives you wiggle room to negotiate. 


3. Explain Your Previous Salary (If Asked)

Although it’s illegal to ask about your previous salary in many states, I would suggest being straightforward with them if it is brought up. While it is certainly within your rights to let them know it’s illegal, you probably won’t get a raise if you point out that they are breaking the law by asking.

You can avoid giving a precise monetary answer, however. They might try lowballing you with a counteroffer based on your past salary but don’t fold.

Stick to your guns, and stand up for yourself. Explain why you deserve the suggested amount. Emphasize your skills, previous work, and background to help build a case.  

4. Be Polite Yet Assertive

Remain both polite and assertive during your conversation. Show them you respect and appreciate their time but that you also mean business.

Never argue during a salary negotiation, even if the person you are speaking to develops a bit of an attitude about the process. Take the high road and keep things professional.

5. Remain Confident

Always appear confident and positive regardless of how you feel. Confidence can be heard over the phone, but if you meet the hiring manager in person, look to dress well, clean yourself up, and act professionally. 

Go above and beyond how you usually would act during the negotiation with your current or potential employer. These little hints of confidence will help make your case.

6. Understand Where The Company Sits Financially

Know what the company’s financial situation is before a salary discussion. If they are having a down year or making cuts, negotiating wouldn’t be ideal. 

Do not bring up specific big wins or profit increases unless you had something to do with it. Asking for a raise in association for something you didn’t contribute to is unprofessional. If you did help in some way, by all means, remind them of that fact. 

Also, never mention that the CEO just bought another corporate jet or a new car. The wrong attitude is never a good negotiating tool.

asking for higher salary

Source: Nerdwallet

7. Time It Right

Refrain from bringing up a pay raise before major presentations or busy work days. Presenting mid-week when there’s a slow period of time will increase your chances of success.

The person on the other side of the desk will be more relaxed and receptive to conversations that can only benefit you.

8. It’s Okay to Walk Away

Walking away from an offer will never be easy, but knowing when to do it is essential.

Before going into any interview or salary negotiation, you undoubtedly have a desired amount in your head. While flexibility is an admirable trait, never settle for less than you truly deserve. There will be other opportunities out there.

9. Don’t Mention Personal Needs

Sad to say, but your employer likely won’t care if rent has gone up or your student loans are dragging you down.

Instead, focus on your performance and past achievements to make your case. They want to know how you value them, not how they can improve your life. Never whine/beg over the phone, in person, or within a negotiation email/letter.

10. Talk Them Up

Don’t be a kiss-ass, but complimenting your boss by asking for advice and talking them up can put them in a good mood. Make sure it doesn’t come off like that’s what you are trying to do, though.

The secret to making this look natural is, well, by naturally doing it. They are, after all, the big boss for a reason. They must have skills or contacts that would benefit you in some way.

11. Pick Up On Verbal Cues

Body language and facial expressions are essential for telling how a conversation is going. Unfortunately, you don’t have that luxury when speaking over the phone.

Instead, look for verbal cues to gauge how the discussion is progressing.

Is the hiring manager laughing, is their tone of voice more serious or upbeat? Do they agree with you? Do they find alternative reasons for your success within the organization? All little things you should try and pick up on.

If you sense the conversation is going well, keep it up! If things are trending downward, look to make adjustments in your approach.

How do you Write a Salary Negotiation Email?

Salary negotiation is complex, to begin with, but starting the conversation through email can add a whole new layer of stress.

And while it’s best to negotiate starting salary in person, it’s not uncommon to use email nowadays. Your email should contain the following:

  • The Opening: State how much you appreciate the offer and are excited about the opportunity
  • The Proposal: Make your new salary request and build a persuasive argument on why you deserve it
  • The Wrap-Up: Reinstate your appreciation towards the employer for the offer and your overall interest in the role

Salary Negotiation Email Samples

Sample Email #1

Dear (Name),
Thank you for reaching out! I’m very excited about the opportunity to work at (Company) as (Title).

With my previous experience doing (Type of Work), I am confident that I will help contribute to the company’s overall success. Before accepting the offer, however, I would like to run through the base salary.

As discussed in the previous interviews, I have more experience in many of the “required skills” sections of the job description. The average salary for comparable positions in the (Location) area is in the (Salary Number) range. I want to discuss the possibility of moving the offer closer to (Proposed Salary Range).

Again, I am thrilled to have been offered this position and know I can contribute to (Company) overall goals. I look forward to speaking with you soon.
Sincerely, (Your Name)

Sample Email #2

Dear (Name),
Thank you for reaching out and offering me the (Title) position.

I want to express again how excited I am to work with your company. Before accepting, I would like to discuss the overall compensation package.

As discussed in the interviews, I have a few more years of experience in the (Specific Skill) than you required in the job description. In my last job, I also demonstrated my capabilities by (Specific Goal You Hit).

With my skill set and experience, a fair salary would fall in the range of (Proposed Salary Range). I’m confident that I can bring much value to (Company) and know we can agree on a fair salary.

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you!
Sincerely, (Name).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How should I respond when someone asks what my salary Expectations are?

When a potential employer asks about your salary expectations, they are looking to take the upper hand in a negotiation. Disclosing your current or desired salary will likely tie you down to that number and negatively affect your pay rate if they originally had a higher wage in mind.

Always avoid giving them a specific salary number unless you are hard-set on it. 

Let the interviewer know compensation is essential, but you’re mainly looking to take on more responsibility and grow your career. Be prepared for this to backfire if they lay a lot more work on you without compensating for it with a higher salary or wage.

Sample Response: “I don’t have a specific number in mind for a desired salary. While compensation is important, I’m mainly looking to advance my career and take on more responsibility. Is there a salary range you were targeting?”

What can be negotiated in a job offer?

While every job opening and company policy is different, almost all aspects of an offer can be negotiated (primarily the salary, benefits, and perks).

If you’re interested in the role but feel more compensation or vacation days would be ideal, consider negotiating the offer.

Can You Lose a Job Offer by Negotiating Salary

While this rarely happens, hiring managers or recruiters can cancel a job offer during salary negotiations. Being so far apart in pay is often the culprit if this does happen.

What is the #1 Rule in Salary Negotiation?

The number one rule in any salary negotiation is not to disclose your salary history or requirements before the employer does. This can often be uncomfortable, but it’s in your best interest and will often help get you a much higher salary.

“Just 39 percent of workers negotiated their salary during their last job offer. Robert Half surveyed more than 2,700 workers across 27 major U.S. cities and found that some people were more likely to negotiate than others.”

— Robert Half

Wrapping Up | How to negotiate salary

Everyone could use a few extra bucks to help pay off student debt or improve their overall lifestyle. If you work hard and get results, you are undoubtedly worth more to your current or potential employers – so don’t be afraid to ask. To recap our salary negotiation tips:

  • Prepare ahead of time
  • Research the market
  • Explain your current/previous salary
  • Be polite yet assertive
  • Remain confident
  • Know where the company sits financially
  • Pick the right time to ask
  • Walking away from an offer is acceptable
  • Keep your personal needs out of it
  • Talk them up
  • Look for verbal cues

Properly negotiating a salary seems daunting and uncomfortable, but it’s well worth it. Even if your pay raise is shot down, you’ll gain valuable insights for future reference. You’ve got nothing to lose.

Best of luck! 

Title: 11 Tips on How to Negotiate Salary Over the Phone (Email)

Category: theFinish

Tags: How to Negotiate Salary Over the Phone, How to Negotiate Salary Over Email, Salary negotiation email (letter), how to negotiate salary offer, how to negotiate starting salary

Author: Reid is a contributor to theJub. He’s an employment and marketing enthusiast who studied business before taking on various recruiting, management, and marketing roles. More from the author. | Author Profile

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